It is like prayer bead Christmas around here! Everyday I receive several packages full of prayer strands. They come from all over the country, big cities and small towns. They represent large congregations, intimate Bible study groups, women’s and men’s ministries, and even individuals who want to be part of this global effort. Some of them contain sweet notes and stories and prayers; all of them reflect the care that was taken to package up the prayer strands for safe travel. And all of them represent the prayers of the people for the delegates, bishops, staff, volunteers, and proceedings of the United Methodist Church’s General Conference 2016.
When Tom Albin, Dean of the Chapel for The Upper Room, called me last December to ask me to be involved in making prayer strands for General Conference, I could not have imagined where this would lead. But here I am just 4 1/2 months later with a studio filled with prayer beads and a heart filled with gratitude. This has been a powerful revelation of the beauty and grace of the global church community as it comes together in prayer.
So here’s a few updates on where we are in the process:
The Current Count
Our goal is to have 2,016 sets of prayer beads for General Conference 2016. This will allow for one prayer strand for each delegate, bishop, staff member, and volunteer at GC2016. As of this morning we have 1,259. With 22 days until GC2016, I feel strongly that we will meet our goal!
Overwhelming Response = Supply and Demand Issues
When we put out the word that we needed prayer strands made for GC2016, we could not have anticipated the response. The sales of our kits have been incredible. The same is true for our completed prayer strands, which is so exciting! The only problem is we have exhausted our suppliers, particularly the company that provides our cross-shaped olive wood beads that comes from Israel. This means we haven’t been able to ship any kits or completed prayer strands out for the past 2 – 3 weeks. We are hoping any day now to receive the beads and will ship everything out immediately. For those of you who are affected by this, we appreciate your prayers and patience!
How to Ensure Your Prayer Strands Are Included in GC2016 Opening Worship
We are planning to hand out prayer strands to the delegates during opening worship of General Conference, which will take place May 10, 2016. If you want the prayer strands you make to be part of opening worship, please mail your completed strands by May 4th to:
889 Euclid Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
We Welcome Your Prayers
As always we welcome your prayers for us and everyone helping with General Conference 2016. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to check out The Upper Room’s 60 Days of Prayer for General Conference 2016. It is full of wonderful prayers, videos, and other resources to connect you with this historic event.
This is a massive undertaking, and there’s no way I could do this by myself. I am so grateful for the help of Jackie (my sister), Barbara (my mom), Matthew (my son), and Max (my husband), as well as the privilege of working with The Upper Room, the General Conference 2016 Prayer Ministry Team, Tom and Maryle Albin, and Joyce Estes.
Grace and peace,